Feast on Teochew Delights in the Gardens
Working in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, one of the most common questions I get is: “How do you settle your meals?” When I tell them about a food court located within the Gardens, what usually follows is a confused look.
Lately, I have been adding another line to these conversations: “Do you know we have a zichar restaurant in the Gardens?” So far, I have received everything from raised eyebrows, surprised faces, to a bewildered “Where?” Di Wei Teochew Restaurant is housed in the Food Canopy – an open-air food court next to Raffles Building in the Bukit Timah core of the Gardens, a five-minute walk from the Visitor Centre at Nassim Gate.
With its humble set-up, Di Wei Teochew Restaurant serves zichar style dishes, with signature items like Cold Crab, Yam Ring and Braised Duck and Beancurd. Besides dishes for sharing, you can also order single-portion meals like Cai Po Hor Fun and Yangzhou Fried Rice.
Di Wei Teo Chew Restaurant is located in the Food Canopy, next to Raffles Building in the Singapore Botanic Gardens (near Nassim Gate).
My three hungry (and greedy) friends and I shared eight items, with our bill totalling about $60.
Here is what we sampled: Cold Crab ($20.00) We started our meal with a Cold Crab.
A special characteristic of Teochew cooking, yellow-roe crabs are steamed, chilled and served cold. The meat was naturally sweet, even without the accompanying sauce, and had a nice bite to it. It quickly became a favourite around the table.
Teochew Oyster Omelette ($8.00)
With a generous portion of oysters, the Teowchew Oyster Omelette could rival those found in our hawker centres or restaurants. The edges of the omelette were nicely crisp, and the oysters were not overcooked. However, this lost a few points for being a bit too salty.
Braised Duck and Beancurd ($8.00)
Spoilt for choice in Singapore, where food outlets specialising in braised duck are a dime a dozen, we were pleasantly surprised with the Braised Duck and Beancurd dish. The meat was tender, thinly sliced and drenched in dark gravy, which also soaked through the beancurd squares – a great pairing with rice or porridge.
Cai Po Hor Fun ($5.00)
Yangzhou Fried Rice ($5.00)
We ordered two staple items to be shared between us, the Yang Zhou Fried Rice and Cai Po Hor Fun. Nothing is more important in a good plate of fried rice or hor fun than ’wok hei’ – a distinct smoky flavour that lends an added ‘oomph’ to wok-fried dishes.
Both dishes did not disappoint – the Yangzhou Fried Rice was aromatic, and the Cai Po Hor Fun was accompanied by crunchy pieces of preserved turnip and diced kai lan.
Stir Fried Seasonal Greens (Chives) ($6.00)
For the vegetable dish, we opted for a more uncommon choice in zichar restaurants. The stir-fried chives, or koochye, were flavourful, though we wished less oil was used.
Salted Vegetable and Beancurd Soup ($7.00)
Perfect comfort food for a rainy day, the steaming hot bowl of Salted Vegetable and Beancurd Soup came with a generous portion of sliced fish, prawns, pork and vegetables.
Teochew Sugar Yam Strips ($6.00)
Although Yam Paste is also on the menu, go for this version instead. The yam is sliced into strips, coated in batter, deep fried and dusted with white sugar. Just like its traditional counterpart, we could also detect a hint of fried onion oil that gave the dessert an added fragrance. It is best eaten straight out of the kitchen.
Overall, Di Wei Teo Chew Restaurant serves a rather delicious fare at reasonable prices. However, do plan to come early to beat the lunch/dinner crowd. Di Wei Teo Chew Restaurant is closed on Mondays.
Text and photos by Chrystal Chua
Di Wei Teo Chew Restaurant is located at Food Canopy at Raffles Building.
Address: Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1J Cluny Road, S259607 Tel: 6763 6573
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday (11am – 2pm; 5pm – 9pm); closed on Mondays
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